Earlier today, First Lady Michelle Obama sat down with NBC’s Matt Lauer for a wide ranging discussion about many topics . And while much of the discussion focused on Ms. Obama’s campaign to end child obesity in America, it seems that her revelation that “first daughters” Sasha and Malia aren’t on Facebook has sparked some sort of media to-do, exemplified by The Blaze’s headline Why Are the Obama Kids Banned From Facebook? Turns out that Facebook’s privacy restrictions do not allow children under 13 to participate, so the Obama’s are just following Facebook’s own standards.
To be fair to The Blaze, the text of their post is a pretty basic AP report of the interview at hand, and they weren’t the only outlet to seemingly make hay of from the Obama’s restrictive policy towards their kids and social media. CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk also highlighted the Facebook portion of the interview (he does write for CNET after all) but neglected to mention Facebook’s age requirements. A cursory search on Google News reveals 35 articles about the Obama’s and Facebook. (Yes, it is a slow news day, perhaps evidenced by this very post!)
Kudos to Sunlen Miller, who points out the age restrictions on Jake Tapper‘s Political Punch blog:
“I’m not a big fan of young kids having Facebook,” Mrs. Obama said on The Today Show this morning, “So, you know, it’s not something they need. It’s not necessary right now.”
But in addition to motherly constraints, nonetheless are the constraints of the Secret Service and the age requirement on Face book.
“I think we’re lucky that there are a lot of real constraints, things like Secret Service and stuff like that,” she said.
Facebook also has a requirement that a child must be at least 13 to join making Sasha at nine-years-old and Malia at twelve-years old too young to join. But Mrs. Obama did not rule out them making their own decision to join the social networking site in the future, when the family is no longer living in the White House.
Maybe the reason that the Obama’s position on social media is so newsworthy is that modern parents are now faced with decisions and rules that no generation before them have ever faced. And regardless of the age restriction policy of Facebook, many parents are flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to the new digital age and how its impacting their kids. (No? Then YOU try telling your six year-old son why he can’t hear that song on the car radio again, when the iPod can allow as many replays as one desires.)
Watch the brief clip of the end of the Today Show interview, courtesy of NBC, below:
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